In its inaugural infocus ‘Women in Innovation’ competition, the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK has named two leaders in the drone business as winners.
Natwilai Utoomprurkporn of Gettrik Ltd.
Gettrik is developing a fully autonomous drone system to inspect tall buildings, replacing the need for human operators to access high or dangerous environments such as wind turbines and large buildings and structures.
Siobhan Gardiner of HEROTECH8
HEROTECH8 is working to automate drones in industry, focusing on precision agriculture as a key market. They are developing an automated robotic service platform with the ability to deploy, recover, dock, recharge, load and deliver payloads.
Each winner will be awarded £50,000 as well as a tailored business support package and will be paired with a business mentor. A number of well-known business leaders are also ambassadors for the infocus campaign, including Facebook VP for EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn, Cambridge Wireless founder and former CEO Soraya Jones and Williams F1 Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams.
The competition is part of Innovate UK’s fight to challenge the disproportionately low numbers of female entrepreneurs in the UK, and aims to highlight the work of the 15 winners. The winners were selected from a longlist of 34 finalists and were named at an event at London’s Royal Society of Arts on 15th November.
Dr. Ruth McKernan CBE and Chief Executive of Innovate UK said: “From fully autonomous drone software to affordable solar power technology and even a digital education portal which engages school children with the molecular world, the calibre of ideas is an eye-opening view into the talent and vision of the UK’s female entrepreneurs. It is very clear that harnessing the talent of women entrepreneurs could significantly enhance UK economic growth. I am delighted that we are taking action, supporting and funding female entrepreneurs to help them succeed and inspire other women to come forward, apply for funding and turn their ideas into successful business.”